Ohio universities target Air Force lab for research opportunities


Ohio State University has hired a national security expert to land research deals with the Air Force Research Laboratory headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

But other Dayton area universities say they don’t view the Ohio State-Battelle Memorial Institute alliance as a competitor for lucrative research deals but a collaborator in a statewide network to win more federal dollars and create jobs.

“Our outlook is it’s in our collective interest to support those defense communities the best we can” in Ohio, said Zachary Mears, who was tapped for the $240,000-a-year post. Mears is a former deputy chief of staff to the secretary of defense and former chief of staff to the deputy secretary of defense advising both on national security issues.

The Ohio Federal Research Network has set a goal of landing $300 million in research contracts and creating 2,500 jobs within five years, said Dennis Andersh, executive director of Wright State Research Institute. The network will announce $8.5 million in grants to universities later this month, he said.

“It’s better to work together than separate and we’re seeing teams being formed across universities that we haven’t seen before,” he said.

Multidisciplinary collaborative research among universities is the approach the state is taking rather than competition among institutions, said Blake Thompson, OSU vice president of governmental affairs.

The goal is win more contract dollars with AFRL, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center and the Naval Medical Research Unit at Wright-Patterson and NASA Glenn Research Center near Cleveland. Universities have partnered with each other and private companies in the ventures.

“The dollar volume of contracts issued by the Air Force Research Laboratory is so large that we are not worried about another nearby Ohio institution working in this area,” said Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs. “Moreover, the Ohio State University is a close partner with the coalition and they are an important part of the state support we will have from the state for maintaining science and technology and the Air Force Research Laboratory and aerospace in Ohio.”

In fiscal year 2015, AFRL statistics show the federal lab spent nearly $54 million with the University of Dayton and more than $5 million between Wright State University and the Wright State Research Institute. AFRL reported it spent a total of $2.9 million with Ohio State University and more than $890,000 with Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus that same year.

The state has earmarked $20 million to Wright State Applied Research Corp. on administrative oversight of the Ohio Federal Research Network. The Ohio Federal and Military Jobs Commission spun-off the network in 2015. Wright State has worked closely with Ohio State on the initiative, said Andersh, also chief executive officer of the Wright State Applied Research Corp.

In February, the network announced $7.1 million in Ohio Department of Education funds would be spent to start four “centers of excellence.”

The network set aside $2 million — or $1 million in each of two years — for the Materials and Manufacturing Center of Excellence at the University of Dayton; and a total of $1.5 million over two years for the Human Performance and Healthy Science Center of Excellence at Wright State.

The network also earmarked a total of $2 million over three years to the Ohio Center for Power and Propulsion Center of Excellence at OSU; and $1.6 million for a Partnership for Research in Energy Storage at Case Western Reserve University.

John E. Leland, executive director of the University of Dayton Research Institute, said in a statement the Dayton university “has a long history of collaboration with the Ohio State University, and we believe this will open up even more opportunities for us to collaborate in ways that will allow us to provide expanded research services to the Air Force.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

The area’s newest club for kids just got a boost from local restaurants
The area’s newest club for kids just got a boost from local restaurants

The Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty is the latest recipient of a local restaurant company’s generosity. The youth club, which opened in early December, has received a donation of $17,755 from CTI Restaurants, Inc. The money will be used for program supplies and specialty education programs. MORE TRENDING NEWS » 7 new restaurants...
Few thousand turn out in support of Women’s March
Few thousand turn out in support of Women’s March

An estimated few thousand people descended on downtown Dayton to support equality. The 2018 Women’s March drew people across the region. The event at Courthouse Square is being organized by Dayton Women’s Rights Alliance, along with Dayton Indivisible for All and others. The rally is designed to engage and empower all people to support...
Liberty Twp. didn’t get Amazon’s second HQ, but big dreams continue
Liberty Twp. didn’t get Amazon’s second HQ, but big dreams continue

Liberty Twp.’s bid to land Amazon’s second headquarters didn’t pan out, but it did solidify the resolve of local officials to continue already existing economic development efforts aimed at attracting similar companies, officials said. The HQ2 project, which generated 238 applicants from cities and regions in 54 states, provinces...
Suspect indicted in Coldwater stabbing death
Suspect indicted in Coldwater stabbing death

A 19-year-old Coldwater man is charged with murder in the death of a woman in her apartment earlier this month. A Mercer County grand jury returned the indictment Friday against Francy Majo. He is accused of killing 47-year-old Sandra Renner Jan. 3 on North Elm Street in Coldwater. Majo was arrested the next morning. According to police, Majo said...
Dayton detective fires shots; no injuries in Salem Avenue incident
Dayton detective fires shots; no injuries in Salem Avenue incident

Two people are in custody following an officer-involved shooting late this morning in the 3500 block of Salem Avenue. No one was injured, and the coroner’s office did not respond to the scene, despite earlier reports. Law enforcement responded to the area of Lev’s Pawn Shop, 3351 Salem Ave. in Harrison Twp. Dayton police Maj. Eric Henderson...
More Stories